“Go get ’em,” Ben Tyvand yelled from his wheel chair as the Butte High football team ran off the field for one last pep talk Friday night.
The 1939 Butte High School graduate was clearly caught up in the excitement of Silver B’s Night at Naranche Stadium.
In fact, he had been looking forward to Friday night for a long, long time.
Tyvand was enshrined as a Diamond B, celebrating 75 years since his first varsity letter at Butte High.
“I played the first game on this field,” Tyvand said before the Bulldogs thumped Missoula Hellgate 42-0. “It’s named after a teammate of mine, Eso Naranche.”
The Bulldogs returned to a revamped Naranche Stadium last season after 37 years playing at Montana Tech then East Middle School.
Tyvand, who played end and wingback for the Bulldogs, had a journey back to Naranche that was much longer than a car ride from his home in Missoula.
The newest Diamond B had heart surgery in Seattle in May.
“He’s been going to physical therapy,” said his step-daugher Mary Anne Dowdall. “He’s just been preparing for this night.
“He walked in here with his cane,” Dowdall added. “That was the amazing thing.”
Tyvand and the large turnout of Silver B’s — 1987 letter winners were welcomed to the prestigious group — also got the attention of the Butte High players.
Many of them talked to the Bulldogs in the school lunch room before the game.
“Those guys did so many great things before us,” senior running back Zach Bunney said. “It’s nice to show them we’re proud to be Bulldogs.”
“It’s awesome,” Taylor said of Silver B’s Night. ” I got two uncles, my step-dad, my grandpa, I’ve got a lot of Silver B’s. It’s nice seeing them out there.
“It’s just like everyone told us in the lunch room, ‘Butte tough.’ Always.”
Butte High coach Arie Grey shook hands with Tyvand before the game.
“The kids thought it was pretty neat,” Grey said of the celebration, “because that’s going to be them.”